HC Deb 18 February 1841 vol 56 cc726-8
Mr. James Stewart

moved for leave to bring in a bill for rendering a release as effectual for the conveyance of freehold estates, as a lease and release by the same parties. The most usual plan of conveyance at present in existence was this. First, the party selling conveyed the estate to the purchaser, by a lease for a year, and then the purchaser being in actual possession under the lease, the vendor conveyed the remainder of his interest by release. Now, he thought it would be a great advantage if they could get rid of a multiplicity of deeds; but the mere getting rid of deeds—though one benefit to be gained by the bill he was about to introduce—was not the only one. An error in the lease for a year, or its loss, was often ruinous to the parties. The lease for a year was not prepared by a conveyancer, it was usually intrusted to the youngest clerk in the attorney's office; yet on this deed being properly prepared, depended the whole validity of the conveyance by lease and release. Besides this, the lease for a year was a serious tax upon all conveyancing transactions; it cost at least from 3l. to 5l. on the smallest purchase of land. The difficulties arising from the incorrect drawing of the lease for a year, might or might not arise, but the expense was present in all cases. It would be admitted, then, that if the lease for a year could be safely dispensed with, it would be a great object. That it might be safely done away with, was proved by certain precedents, because in other countries, where this mode of conveyance had been adopted, the lease for a year had been dispensed with. They were not in the habit of thinking that Ireland was in a very forward state as regarded law reform, as compared with this country, and yet in Ireland the lease for a year had been abolished for a century. There it was enacted, that the recital of the lease for a year, in the release, should be evidence of the lease. Now, he thought that this mode was inconvenient; because if the recital were omitted, or if, as had happened, the lease were imperfectly recited, the release would be worth nothing. He did not, therefore, propose to adopt this method; neither would he take the method adopted in many of our West Indian colonies, where it was declared that a registration in the island should have the same effect as a lease and release, because as there was no system of registration in this country, he could not adopt that method. He proposed simply to declare, that the release should be as effectual for the conveyance of the property, as if the same parties had executed a lease and release. That would be perfectly effectual, and was the mode recommended by the real property commis- sioners; and had been embodied in a bill introduced into that House containing other provisions, which had not passed.

Mr. Ewart

said, that the House was indebted to his hon. friend for undertaking this measure, and explaining it as he had done, and he trusted that the end of it would be to secure a legal reform.

Leave given.

Bill brought in and read a first time.